THE LONDON School of Economics and Moscow's Higher School of Economics are jointly setting up a college to try to meet a severe shortage of specialists in market economics in Russia, writes Kam Patel.
The International College of Economics, to be based at the HSE, will run courses requiring students to study simultaneously for two degrees - a Russian degree awarded by the college and a University of London external degree organised by the LSE.
A consortium of Russia's largest banks including the Savings Bank of the Russian Federation and Foreign Trade Bank of the Russian Federation, are kick-starting the initiative with $2 million (Pounds 1.3 million). Richard Jackman, director of the project at LSE, said the college was being established "because of a general feeling that starting afresh is the only way to proceed. The burden of the past on economic thinking in Russia is enormous".
Teaching will be given by Russian professors receiving support and advice from the LSE. The first two years of a four-year course will provide a common grounding in economics and the second two will be devoted to more specialised studies. For the London degree, LSE will be responsible for ensuring that academic standards examinations are the same as equivalent LSE degrees. The majority of the courses will be taught in English.
At the end of the fourth year, a few of the best students will have the chance to go on to do a postgraduate degree at the LSE in money and banking, finance or accounting, and then return to Russia as bankers or public servants.
The planned yearly intake to the college is 75 students. Entry will be by means of a competitive entrance examination. Students will pay fees with the best receiving stipends.
The LSE has been closely involved with economics teaching in Russia during the economic reforms of the past ten years. It has been running summer schools in Russia and courses in banking and finance at the LSE. Since 1994 the LSE has also been coordinating a programme of reform of the economics curriculum at Moscow State University.